Organizations still running Windows 7 are now officially living on borrowed time. As of Jan. 14, Microsoft has cut off extended support for the aging operating system. Though Windows 7 computers will continue to run and function as always, they’ll be more vulnerable to security flaws.
That’s because the end of extended support means no more Windows 7 bug fixes, security updates, or other patches from Microsoft. But organizations still stuck with the OS do have a few options:
- Remain on Windows 7. This the worst option as ignoring the problem leaves organizations vulnerable to various security threats. After Windows XP support ended in 2014, companies that didn’t migrate faced certain threats, including the WannaCry ransomware virus. Microsoft initially held off on a patch for XP until eventually releasing one to stop the spread of WannaCry. Staying on Windows 7 may seem like the path of least resistance, but it will cause more headaches in the long run.
- Pay Microsoft for extended support. For businesses that have yet to migrate off Windows 7, Microsoft offers Extended Security Updates (ESUs). Available for Windows 7 until January 2023, ESUs provide Critical and Important security updates on an individual basis to carry organizations as they migrate to a new OS. But ESUs are expensive and could rise in price each year. When Microsoft ended support for Windows XP, the cost of the ESUs for an organization with 10,000+ machines was just under $2 million a year.
- Finish your migration now. Hands down, the best option is to complete your migration away from Windows 7 ASAP. Of course, this can be easier said than done for organizations with outdated infrastructure and slow network speeds. With hackers and cybercriminals now eyeing Windows 7 as a juicy target, all is takes is one attack or flaw to compromise a machine and an entire network. We can help! Frankenstein Computers has steadily been upgrading our client’s systems to Windows 10 since Microsoft announced the End of Life of Windows 7.
Adapted from an article on TechRepublic.com
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